OCSE AND HEAD START BUREAU JOINT LETTER TO HEAD START PROGRAMS

June 15, 2000

Dear Colleague:

As you know, the 1998 Head Start Reauthorization Act requires Head Start staff to "inform custodial parents in single-parent families133about the availability of child support services for purposes of establishing paternity and acquiring child support; and refer eligible parents to the child support offices of State and local governments." [Sec.642 (b)(11)(A)(B). In a joint effort to assist you to do this, the Head Start Bureau and the Office of Child Support Enforcement are pleased to make available to Head Start Programs the enclosed brochure and video cassette.

The brochure entitled, CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES FOR FAMILIES IN HEAD START PROGRAMS was jointly produced by our offices to assist custodial parents with key information on the benefits of child support services for themselves and their children. The Head Start Bureau will shortly provide you with bulk copies of this brochure so that you can give a copy to each family enrolled in your Head Start Program for their information.

The video cassette entitled, The Power of 2: Voluntarily Acknowledging Paternity communicates to unwed parents the benefits, legal rights and responsibilities of signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. We believe the presentation encourages the full participation of both mother and father in the lives of their children. This 11- minute video cassette presentation can be used as a component oh Head Start parent education activities, particularly in tandem with your arranging for staff of the local Child Support Office to speak at parent meetings. Also, Head Start staff could make the cassette available for individual viewing by a parent interested in child support services.

In closing, we remind you that child support services are a significant resource for low-income single-parent families. The combination of added financial support and emotional involvement of the non-custodial parent (generally the father) in children’s lives can make all the difference. In providing you with these educational materials, we renew our joint commitment to continue to assist your efforts to promote child support services for families in Head Start Programs.

Sincerely,

//s\\ //s\\
David Gray Ross Helen H. Taylor
Commissioner Associate Commissioner
Office of Child Support Head Start Bureau
Enforcement